Why can’t I have a 360 degree view of my own data ?

It’s tax season now and I owe a bunch of documents to my CPA to file my taxes . It’s a pain in the neck to compile all of them . I do all my banking with one single company – and have multiple accounts with them . I can get a view of how much money is in all my accounts on the opening screen . But if I need tax documents – I need to go into each account and download them . There is no way to do a batch download or batch transfer to a cloud service .

It’s no different for mortgages and insurance policies and W2s and what not . I still have to go one at a time to each account to get the documents and manually compile it . Then my CPA has to look at each and put data into his software and file taxes. I am sure if this process were easier – I wouldn’t have to pay him a lot in fees , and he will make even more money than he makes today by having more clients.

I have gone through this problem when applying for mortgage as well – find documents one at a time, download it and then send it to the lender who looks at each PDF , and types the information to some screen and then someone takes a decision .

A (smaller) version of this problem happens when you join a new employer or start a side business.

There are 250 million or so tax filers in US . I would think there are at least 50 million mortgage applications each year as well . And each of them have to go through this time consuming and highly error prone process. Just thinking about it makes me want to scream !

What is funny (and sad) here is that vast majority of the companies – banks , mortgage lenders and the like – have some kind of customer 360 view for everyone they do business with . That is how they sell more and (hopefully) better service their customers . But these same companies, when they design their customer facing solutions, limit the customer to – at best – a dashboard that shows the combined view of accounts . It’s not done in a way that the customer can share information easily with the government , or a lender .

This situation is more than ripe for significant disruption . I would gladly pay for a service that can aggregate assorted documents for me as a secure cloud service – statements, tax forms etc – from the vendors I have accounts with . And then I should be able to just select the view I want to share securely with whoever I want – like the government , or a lender or my employer . These documents are all structured in a simple way – so it doesn’t even need to be shared in PDFs . An API based solution should be totally possible to provision .

Some combination of a company like Box and a company like DocuSign can solve most of this problem with existing technology and ecosystem . Tech is not the issue here at all – it can be solved by a range of tech from good old XML to the coolest blockchain and AI tech 🙂

Does anyone know if such a company exists today ? If not – I am seriously tempted to start one , or put some investment if someone wants to do it .


Published by Vijay Vijayasankar

Son/Husband/Dad/Dog Lover/Engineer. Follow me on twitter @vijayasankarv. These blogs are all my personal views - and not in way related to my employer or past employers

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